Friday, August 14, 2009
Police nab thieves in town-wide chase
An alert resident, four on-duty police officers including the Police Chief, and four off-duty policemen on detail teamed with Concord Police, Westford Police, Burlington Police, and a Burlington Police dog to capture and arrest two men surprised in the act of burglarizing a Cross Street house.
Elbert Riccio, 19, of Westford and Curtis Gladstone, 22, of Chelmsford were arrested around noon on Tuesday and taken to the station. Gladstone was unable to post $7,500 bail and Riccio, was unable to post $5,000 bail. They were held at the station overnight and taken to Concord court on Wednesday morning. All of the stolen items were recovered.
Resident discovers break in progress
A Cross Street resident returned home just before noon on Tuesday, August 11, after an hour’s absence, to find a green minivan backed into her driveway near the back door, with a young white male sitting in it. He honked his horn and said, “I’m looking for Chris,” then waved her to back up, which she did and he left. She followed him and also called the police and told them the green minivan was headed toward Westford Street.
Officer Ronald Holsinger immediately headed his cruiser out to Westford Street and Lt. Leo Crowe took the other cruiser out on Lowell Street. Sgt. Kevin Cardonne, who was off duty and on detail at Cross and South Streets where the road was closed because of paving, reported the green minivan had turned around and reversed direction on South Street.
The green minivan had actually gone from the robbery site on Cross Street to South Street (not Westford Street as originally reported), then reversed onto Concord Street to the center and then out on Lowell Street. It passed Crowe on Lowell Street near Litchfield Drive. Crowe, who had gone all the way to the town line, turned around and pursued the minivan with flashing lights. Concord Police were blocking the roadway at South and Cross Streets and Westford Police were blocking the Curve and Fiske intersection so that between on-duty police who were covering Lowell Street and off-duty Carlisle Police and mutual aid police, major roadways were covered.
By the time the homeowner remembered that the green minivan had turned toward South Street and not Westford Street, the police pursuit was already in the Lowell Street area.
The van eluded Crowe and turned into Sunset Road, where a resident reported someone throwing electronic goods from a green van. The vehicle then turned back onto Lowell Street, where Crowe stopped and arrested Ricci at 11:53 a.m.
Gladstone, who had been inside the house and fled on foot from the rear of the house when he heard Ricci’s horn, went through several driveways and backyards. The Burlington Police canine, a shepherd, was let off on Cross Street and led officers through some backyard wooded area until he stopped at a rock where police found some of the stolen jewelry. Gladstone had apparently stopped there before continuing across Westford Street to Curve Street where he stopped a resident and asked directions to Chelmsford. He was found at Curve Street and Hutchins Road by Officer Steve Mack, who had been on detail assignment on West Street. Police Chief John Sullivan was also present at the scene of arrest.
Crowe thought the residents should consider themselves lucky because all of the items were recovered. Missing property was found on Gladstone at the time of his arrest, on Ember Lane where Ricci had tossed them when he knew he was being pursued and in the homeowner’s own kitchen in a black bag left by the rear door.
Crowe said the pattern of the burglary was for one person in a car to wait in front of the house and for the other to go to the back of the house and gain entrance. In this case, entry was gained through a French door at the rear of the house; it had been kicked in and a window upstairs opened to hear the warning horn if the burglary was detected. The area covered and the large number of police officers involved mask the fact that everything in this police action happened within a very short time: the original call from the homeowner was at 11:36 a.m, Ricci was apprehended at 11:53 a.m. and Gladstone was arrested on Curve Street at 12:50 p.m. ∆
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